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Golf Course Superintendent Ready to Answer Any Questions You May Have


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#1 BNGL

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 03:06 PM

Good Afternoon GolfWRX,

As the title says hit me up with any questions that you may have in relation to golf course agronomy, or why certain practices are done at certain times. Whatever the question you have, if I don't have the answer I will provide it for you.

Fairways, Greens, and remember to repair your ball marks!


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#2 psapitch13

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 03:22 PM

As we see the costs of playing golf go up, what are courses and superintendents trying to focus on to keep costs low and customers playing while ensuring the integrity of the grounds?  

I've always figured there were a lot of places on courses I play in southern PA that require a lot of hard work to maintain while rarely seeing play, especially on par 3s.  I'd imagine it would be better to just ignore those areas and focus the funds on the "high traffic areas."

Edited by psapitch13, 12 July 2017 - 03:25 PM.


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#3 seven dewey

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:00 PM

Why do some courses have soft fluffy sand that is easy to get out of and others have hard sand that your club just bounces off? I'm sure it has to be a factor of cost/geographical region, but it sure would make golf more fun if it was consistent.

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#4 BNGL

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:02 PM

View Postpsapitch13, on 12 July 2017 - 03:22 PM, said:

As we see the costs of playing golf go up, what are courses and superintendents trying to focus on to keep costs low and customers playing while ensuring the integrity of the grounds?  

I've always figured there were a lot of places on courses I play in southern PA that require a lot of hard work to maintain while rarely seeing play, especially on par 3s.  I'd imagine it would be better to just ignore those areas and focus the funds on the "high traffic areas."

Great question!

Golf courses are a business, and as such they need to make money to stay afloat. Sustainability is hotly debated topic among golf course superintendents. Everyone is being asked to do more with less, and that is just a fact that we accept and move forward doing the best we can. Every course is different and ownership requires different things, Augusta National is going to get whatever they want, Your Town Municipal Golf Club might have to "ignore" some areas to better maintain more important areas.

You did hit the nail right on the head though, you are going to see a focus on high traffic and high visibility areas, both from a labor perspective and a agricultural one. Every super has priority list of areas that need to be maintained, and that is where you will see most the work done. Speaking from experience at my club, and another I worked at in Orlando. We have areas that were just empty space of turf, no rhyme or reason just empty space. That turf needed to be maintained (Sprayed, mowed, watered, aerified, etc.) all of those practices cost money. So what we did is tore up all that turf, used it to patch areas that needed it and built a bigger sod nursery, and replaced it with native shrubs (palms and pines). Now these areas I just let nature run its course, and it saves me time and money.

I guess to make a long story short, areas that do not see play I am not too concerned about (Like my range floor, tee is maintained like the fairways range floor sucks lol)

I hope this answered your question, please feel free to respond back if you have anymore.

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#5 aceofclubs

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:21 PM

Cool idea for a thread.....

Can you explain why some courses have ridiculously slow greens, even ones that are in nice shape otherwise.

Is it a pace of play issue?
Cost?
Just easier to maintain?

I live in the northeast where it can get pretty hot and humid in the summer and courses are pretty tree lined.

For instance i played a course the other day, expensive by my standards ($70 prime rate) and it was a beautiful layout, long, great condition but the greens were soooo slow and spongy. They werent excessively sloped or anything. Im not a country club golfer so i dont typically play on fast greens and these were some of the slowest greens ive seen.  

Thanks

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#6 BNGL

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:29 PM

View Postseven dewey, on 12 July 2017 - 04:00 PM, said:

Why do some courses have soft fluffy sand that is easy to get out of and others have hard sand that your club just bounces off? I'm sure it has to be a factor of cost/geographical region, but it sure would make golf more fun if it was consistent.

Hi seven dewey,

Could be one of several factors...

If you are in the flat of a bunker and it is super firm and not a lot of sand, check the sides of the bunkers. Often times what happens is when the crew spins the bunkers, the sand gets dragged to the sides, especially the side where the sandpro exits the bunker. Twice a year we "redo" our bunkers. This process involves us digging out these edges, and relocating the sand to the middle, so that I have a uniform depth of 8-12 inches.
Another factor in really firm bunkers is just not taking care of them.

If the sand is extremely fluffy and your ball plugs even you hit a screamer, it is more than likely a new bunker. It takes time for new bunkers to settle, and the subsurface sand to adequately compact to form a playable base.

Another factor is the type of sand that is in your bunkers. I will use an example that every one knows, Augusta National. One question that I get asked every year is, "Why aren't our bunkers as white as Augusta National?" I try to explain the difference between their sand, Spruce Pine Sand, and our sand G-Angle (G-Angle is great, it will be pretty white barring contamination from surrounding turf). Spruce Pine is something special, its actually quartz. This is a waste product of some mining process in the Carolinas and West Virginia if I remember correctly. This sand is phenomenal it is firm enough that balls won't plug in the faces and roll into the middle of the bunker because of the crystalline structure, yet soft enough to get under the ball and be playable.

Geography is another factor, not as much as with turf, but a club I know in North Dakota (Hawktree?) uses black coal slag in their bunkers. So its a phenomenally striking course, emerald green turf with black sand bunkers all around. I imagine their location has something to do with that decision.

Best advice I can give you is to hit the fairways and the greens! lol I tell my members the exact same thing haha.

I hope that this helped! Please feel free to message me with any other questions that you may have.

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#7 spud3

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 04:52 PM

Welcome to the forum and I hope you're ready for a whole lot of questions! :)

Mine has to do with grass types.  I live in the PNW, and we are seeing a lot of bentgrass and fescue greens get invaded by poa (Chambers and Bandon, just to name a couple high profile courses).  Seems like designers should take into account that it is apparently inevitable that poa will win that battle.  Why even bother starting with something other than what will eventually prevail?

Don't get me wrong, I love fescue greens.  Just wish there was a way to keep them!
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#8 BNGL

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:08 PM

View Postaceofclubs, on 12 July 2017 - 04:21 PM, said:

Cool idea for a thread.....

Can you explain why some courses have ridiculously slow greens, even ones that are in nice shape otherwise.

Is it a pace of play issue?
Cost?
Just easier to maintain?

I live in the northeast where it can get pretty hot and humid in the summer and courses are pretty tree lined.

For instance i played a course the other day, expensive by my standards ($70 prime rate) and it was a beautiful layout, long, great condition but the greens were soooo slow and spongy. They werent excessively sloped or anything. Im not a country club golfer so i dont typically play on fast greens and these were some of the slowest greens ive seen.  

Thanks

Good Evening aceofclubs thank you for your question!
First let me start by saying that there are several factors relation to green speed;
Height of cut, amount of water being applied, soil compaction, and the type of grass.

Faster greens are more difficult to maintain, cost more, and do present a pace of play issue (at least to me). There are several reasons as to why, that is.
Faster greens are typically mowed tighter (lower), I know that a certain PGA Tour event in Florida has mowers set for .090 tournament week. (certain conditions might dictate that you raise or lower them, but .090 is the target). That is less than a 1/10 of an inch, when your typical municipal course is probably mowing at around .125. These fractions may not sound like much, but that is HUGE on a microscopic level. When you mow that tight, the wilting point of the plant is effectively lowered to almost nothing. That is why if you watch an event after play has concluded for the day you will often see crews with hoses watering greens, and overheads running as well.

Lower cut greens can potentially cost a lot more, because you are extremely susceptible to diseases, drought, and insects. This needlessly increases the pesticide, fungicide, insecticide, and water budgets.

As for the pace of play, quite simply not every body can putt a 10'5"

As for my course specifically my target speed is 9'0". I feel that is a good balance of speed and playability, but I can always get them faster for certain events. But every green is different, each is its own microenvironment, some of my greens are elevated and drain extremely well...those are typically faster than others and won't get rolled as often as the some of my others that are in valleys where water collects. (We also will manage irrigation differently to each green).

As for your case, I suspect that with spongy one of two things. It had rained a lot recently, that will make the property look extremely lush! But if it rains enough it can affect mowing for several days after. What can happen is the greens get spongy enough that the mowers will scalp the greens, even though the regular mowing height hasn't changed. Another factor to sponginess is the course is prepping to aerify or vent greens, grass is a living organism and needs to "breathe". The sponginess you are feeling could be gas built up in the soil that will be released upon aerification. There could be other problems that I cannot speak to having not seen the greens, or the soil. (I have been on courses south of the Mason-Dixon Line all my career).

Quick funny (at least to me) story about fast greens, while volunteering at the PGA Tour event I rolled greens for the week. During the process you see the Tour guys coming around measuring green speeds, and Wednesday morning, after two nights of chilly temps (sub 40), he took a stimp reading on number 10. As soon as the ball came off of the stimp, Mr. Cooper said "Whoa...." this ball never stopped, it slowed down but it just kept trickling. He looks at us and says just single roll the back 9 today. If I remember correctly they were just barely 14'0" Tuesday night. I think the average for the week though was 13'5" just ridiculous and pure as well!

I hope this answer shed some light on your query, please feel free to ask me anything at anytime.

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#9 Cwing

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:11 PM

Awesome thread.

Public courses.  Do most supers pick pin placement or do they just let the hole digger guy pick the worst spots? Regardless of whom selects the pin placement, is there a process behind it and what is that process and why dies it seem that many public course put those pins in bad/unplayable positions?

Edited by Cwing, 12 July 2017 - 05:15 PM.

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#10 aceofclubs

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:25 PM

Thanks for the reply. That all makes alot of sense.

Greens are such a big factor, in my eyes anyway, on how i feel about a course i play. I would rather play an OK course with great greens than a great course with crappy greens.

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#11 BNGL

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:28 PM

View Postspud3, on 12 July 2017 - 04:52 PM, said:

Welcome to the forum and I hope you're ready for a whole lot of questions! :)

Mine has to do with grass types.  I live in the PNW, and we are seeing a lot of bentgrass and fescue greens get invaded by poa (Chambers and Bandon, just to name a couple high profile courses).  Seems like designers should take into account that it is apparently inevitable that poa will win that battle.  Why even bother starting with something other than what will eventually prevail?

Don't get me wrong, I love fescue greens.  Just wish there was a way to keep them!

Good afternoon Spud3,

Yeah its funny I actually had a conversation about this the other day with a vendor of ours. He was a super at a ultra exclusive club in the Jupiter Florida area. They had BENTGRASS greens....I was like why would you kill yourself trying to do that every summer?!?! Any time you see a course with fans on them, it is to cool the greens down in the hot summer months. But this course had the budget to afford to close in the summers, (they have since regrassed with paspalum).

As for the PNW, specifically Chambers Bay, they are now starting the transition from their fine fescue to Poa. At least that is what I read the other day in GolfDigest. As atrocious as those greens were, and they were bad, I had a couple friends play in the Open at Chambers Bay. They were dealt an extremely tough hand weather wise at least. As I understand it from vendors (95% of our vendors are retired supers) the weather just simply did not cooperate, and warmer temperatures in the spring and leading up to the event lead to a blossoming of Poa mixed with the fine fescue, and a BuMPy putting surface. That being said, course designers can merely make suggestions as to what types of turf are best suited for the area, ultimately it is up to the owners as to what surface they want to install.

The money doesn't always know what is best sometimes, I remember a story about Tom Doak (I think it was Mr. Doak, this was from a few years ago) anyways he was brought in to design a course and the owners insisted on a sub sir system, Mr. Doak basically said flat out no, if you want sub air I am walking off the project. Mr. Doak won out in the end. But it just goes to show you got a world renowned course designer saying one thing and the money saying another.

Ultimately it comes to money just like everything else, I am sure that the supers at Bandon and Chambers Bay are more than capable of keeping the Poa out, however budgets do play a major role in decision making.

I hope that this answered your question please don't be bashful!

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#12 BNGL

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:38 PM

View PostCwing, on 12 July 2017 - 05:11 PM, said:

Awesome thread.

Public courses.  Do most supers pick pin placement or do they just let the hole digger guy pick the worst spots? Regardless of whom selects the pin placement, is there a process behind it and what is that process and why dies it seem that many public course put those pins in bad/unplayable positions?

View PostCwing, on 12 July 2017 - 05:11 PM, said:

Awesome thread.

Public courses.  Do most supers pick pin placement or do they just let the hole digger guy pick the worst spots? Regardless of whom selects the pin placement, is there a process behind it and what is that process and why dies it seem that many public course put those pins in bad/unplayable positions?

Hey CWing,

Most clubs have a rotation that is followed, whether it is front, middle, back or the greens are divided into sections it all depends on the course. Now during special events sometimes we are asked to provide something different, other times the locations are selected for us and we have hunt for a dot in the dark it all depends.

It is a good idea to rotate pin positions just to reduce wear, not only from ball marks, but from foot traffic as well. The average golfer will take anywhere from 45-65 steps on each green, a majority of these are around the hole. Now multiply that times four, and then say 75 foursomes. You are looking at 13,500 steps on each green per day conservatively.

There is a problem with doing FMB rotation, if you have different guy doing it from day to day. Somedays a middle pin may look back to one guy so he moves it to the front, and then the whole rotations is screwed up. So that is why I prefer to have 5 zones on the greens, zone 4 is tough!!!

I hope this shed some light on your question!

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#13 aliikane

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 05:52 PM

How often are the greens, fairways, and rough cut at most courses? Can the whole course be cut in a day?

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#14 BNGL

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 06:03 PM

View Postaliikane, on 12 July 2017 - 05:52 PM, said:

How often are the greens, fairways, and rough cut at most courses? Can the whole course be cut in a day?

Hi aliikane,

Short answer no. Typically the whole course cannot be mowed in a day. At my club, greens are mowed everyday (Takes two mowers about 3 hours to do all 22 greens), barring extreme weather conditions or what not. Fairways ( 5 hours to do) and Tees (about 3 hours) are mowed Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. Approaches and Collars are mowed everyday. Roughs are mowed every day as well, he typically gets 6 holes a day done, his job is just permanently roughs haha.

Now if there is a tournament or something special going I can definitely allocate labor and equipment to get everything minus roughs done before 11, we start at 6.

The PGA Tour event I volunteer at, now this an extreme example with many area supers volunteering time to help, but we start at 0430 am and can have the tees, fairways, greens, approaches, collars, the step cut from tee to fairway, bunkers raked, greens rolled, greens watered by 0900 am on the whole course, but that is 40 guys pushing it hard for one week.

Thanks for the question hope this answered it for you!

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#15 Medic

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 07:41 PM

Welcome!

I see more and more hybrid drought resistant grasses being used down here in Florida but it doesn't seem that those same grasses are available for public lawn use. It would seem to me that, with water being short at times, those grasses might solve a huge issue. Why aren't they available? (One local course has a Zoysia hybrid grass on the greens and it is amazingly beautiful)

Thanks in advance!

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#16 augustgolf

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 09:25 PM

Welcome to the board, BNGL.

No question - looking forward to your participation!
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#17 Carolina Golfer 2

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Posted 12 July 2017 - 10:36 PM

Great thread. Thanks for taking the time to do this.  I work at a course (in sales) We have a fantastic super, and I ask him questions like many of these all the time.   I'm fascinated by the job you and your crews do.

It's good to know I have a resource now to come to if he ever gets tired of all my questions.   Ha.
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#18 TheRatt87

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 08:09 AM

For your maintenance equipment, do you lease or buy?  Why one approach vs. the other?

I am guessing that the biggest compliant you get from golfers is about aerating greens.  What is your biggest complaint about the golfers?  Ignorance of the need to aerate?  Unrealistic expectations given budget?  Don't repair ball marks or fill divots?

Great thread by the way!

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#19 larrybud

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 08:13 AM

View PostBNGL, on 12 July 2017 - 05:38 PM, said:

Hey CWing,

Most clubs have a rotation that is followed, whether it is front, middle, back or the greens are divided into sections it all depends on the course. Now during special events sometimes we are asked to provide something different, other times the locations are selected for us and we have hunt for a dot in the dark it all depends.


But who is picking the specific location within that zone?  I'm sure you've seen a couple of threads of us complaining about bad pin positions.  Is there any extra thought going into the specific location other than which zone to put it in?

I'm sure each course is different, but how often are you moving the cups?

Over watering:  Here in Michigan supers LOVE to over water.  It's gotten better the last few years, but still is prevalent.  Do you guys get b!tched at if there's a hint of brown on the course?  lol  Some of the worst maintained courses (esp greens) are the ones which over water, and I can only presume it's because the greens end up with huge craters with every approach shot because they're so soft.

Speaking of Aeration, just an FYI, there's a course in my area which aerates one side of the green one week, and the other side a couple of weeks later, and puts the pin on the good side.  Also, my old home club aerated early enough in the season (day after labor day) so that the greens would heal in a week, while other guys wait until October which screws up their greens all the way until the end of next may.

Edited by larrybud, 13 July 2017 - 08:15 AM.


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#20 Charleston Green Apparel

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 08:27 AM

Thank you for your participation and starting this thread!

My question relates to trees. Especially around the greens. Tree roots invade the turf and steal the water needed for the turf in and around the greens. They also block the airflow to keep the greens healthy. A lot of courses will put in fans to alleviate this. Why not just take down the trees around the greens to make it easier for you guys and make it easier to maintain the greens?


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#21 Dropping 7 Hitting 8

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 10:41 AM

Great idea for a thread!   In regards to tall grassy areas (fescue or just areas the course lets grow out).  Some courses are very playable out of this thick stuff.   Other courses (in my experience lower quality courses) are wrist breakers (if you can even find your ball).

How does a super keep this type of area from getting so thick it becomes virtually unplayable?

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#22 Dseebera

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 11:18 AM

BNGL

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, this is fantastic resource.

We recently had our long-standing and very talented Super hired away by the PGA. We replaced him with his number two. I assume we did this for continuity reasons but I am curious about a few things regarding our search (or lack thereof) because I was not a party to the process: 1) how liquid is the market for Superintendents? when conducting a search is it mostly word of mouth or are there head-hunters for Supers? 2) other than apprenticing, what is the formal training (course of study) that one follows to earn the title? and 3)  [if not appropriate for public consumption please feel free to PM me] what is the comp range for Supers at private clubs?

thank you!
“I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ”

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#23 odyperc

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 02:00 PM

Welcome!
Just wanted to thank you for opening fthread, and say thanks to you and your colleagues...without your tireless efforts, we couldn't enjoy the game to its fullest potential!
But, that won't stop us here from asking pointed questions I know we all ponder as we walk/ride all over your work on a daily basis!

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#24 BNGL

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 04:20 PM

View PostTheRatt87, on 13 July 2017 - 08:09 AM, said:

For your maintenance equipment, do you lease or buy?  Why one approach vs. the other?

I am guessing that the biggest compliant you get from golfers is about aerating greens.  What is your biggest complaint about the golfers?  Ignorance of the need to aerate?  Unrealistic expectations given budget?  Don't repair ball marks or fill divots?

Great thread by the way!

View Postlarrybud, on 13 July 2017 - 08:13 AM, said:

View PostBNGL, on 12 July 2017 - 05:38 PM, said:

Hey CWing,

Most clubs have a rotation that is followed, whether it is front, middle, back or the greens are divided into sections it all depends on the course. Now during special events sometimes we are asked to provide something different, other times the locations are selected for us and we have hunt for a dot in the dark it all depends.


But who is picking the specific location within that zone?  I'm sure you've seen a couple of threads of us complaining about bad pin positions.  Is there any extra thought going into the specific location other than which zone to put it in?

I'm sure each course is different, but how often are you moving the cups?

Over watering:  Here in Michigan supers LOVE to over water.  It's gotten better the last few years, but still is prevalent.  Do you guys get b!tched at if there's a hint of brown on the course?  lol  Some of the worst maintained courses (esp greens) are the ones which over water, and I can only presume it's because the greens end up with huge craters with every approach shot because they're so soft.

Speaking of Aeration, just an FYI, there's a course in my area which aerates one side of the green one week, and the other side a couple of weeks later, and puts the pin on the good side.  Also, my old home club aerated early enough in the season (day after labor day) so that the greens would heal in a week, while other guys wait until October which screws up their greens all the way until the end of next may.

Afternoon Larrybud,
Thanks for the question glad that I can help you out!

As for who picks the specific location, that is up to the individual cutting holes that day. A majority of guys/gals are pretty good at keeping the locations off of ridiculous slopes. However in the dark some locations do not look as severe. Another factor to consider is that not all employees are avid golfers that understand the subtleties of hole locations and the adverse affect it can have on golfers and their scores. They just know that the ball goes in the hole.

As far as picking the specific zones, the goal is to minimize wear both from ball marks, footprints, and spike marks. We also try to make it as fair as possible, in that one zone isn't more or less difficult than others. I move mine every day, UNLESS I see that the tee sheet is empty for the next day or I know that severe weather has brought down limbs or washed out bunkers, then I need to allocate labor to other areas.

As far as brown on the course goes, here in Florida it gets steamy in the summer. So my members and Director of Golf understand that some mounds, and elevated areas are going to be a little crispy, conversely though my club is dead from about 1030 to after 400, so I can run water on dry areas. In fact most irrigation techs will build a watering program of just dry areas, to specifically target them, saving money and conserving water. BUT there is always that one member at every club never fails, that should have been hired instead of me, telling me to water brown areas and that it is unacceptable and that it has never been like this ever in the history of the golf club.....and you just grin and smile and say, "Yes sir we are addressing that problem right now" or "No habla" and drive off lol

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#25 Justmuckit

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 04:42 PM

Cool idea for a thread...thanks for taking the time.   Odd question here.

Here in STL, many courses struggle to keep their bentgrass greens from burning up.  However, there is a 100% bentgrass course here (Gateway National) that is ALWAYS in spectacular condition.  They seem to have no problems keeping the bentgrass from burning up.

I know this is a very specific question about a course you have no experience with, but any idea why they are able to keep an entire course of bent looking perfect while most courses in the area are losing their greens in the heat of the summer?


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#26 BNGL

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 04:52 PM

View PostDseebera, on 13 July 2017 - 11:18 AM, said:

BNGL

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, this is fantastic resource.

We recently had our long-standing and very talented Super hired away by the PGA. We replaced him with his number two. I assume we did this for continuity reasons but I am curious about a few things regarding our search (or lack thereof) because I was not a party to the process: 1) how liquid is the market for Superintendents? when conducting a search is it mostly word of mouth or are there head-hunters for Supers? 2) other than apprenticing, what is the formal training (course of study) that one follows to earn the title? and 3)  [if not appropriate for public consumption please feel free to PM me] what is the comp range for Supers at private clubs?

thank you!

Dseebera,

Interesting question...the market for a good super is not great, not bad but not great. The more competent that you are the more oppurnities you will have. I do not want to say that the job market is declining or growing, it is fairly stagnant if I remember correctly.

There maybe "head hunters" I don't know about that, but it is extremely frowned upon for one course to poach a super from a good situation. Now if his/hers contract is up or coming up than it is fair game. In my experience though it is the vendors and sales reps that are the ones truly in the know about jobs, especially in their respective sales areas. If you really think about it, these sales reps go from course to course, know the ownership groups, the conditions of the course and what is expected, but also the financials of the course (not all of the financials, but the reps know who pays the bills and who doesn't). Plus they also build a relationship with each and every super and assistant and may or may not endorse or mention names  if a club asks, "Do you know anyone looking for work"

As for your club hiring an assistant makes a ton of sense because he/she already knows what the level of expectations are and the club knows what they are getting.

Many Big10 (Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State to name a few) schools have world renowned turf and horticulture programs, you can actually get a post grad degree in these fields. I got a certificate to start then an undergrad. I did my certificate online while working in orlando, then busted my butt working and studying. Right now I am in a good spot, my course is ok in my eyes. Members are happy owners are happy pga staff seems happy so keep going here until a bigger and better position opens up. In addition to the formal schooling the GCSAA has several different levels of certifications, from students all the way up to CGCS (Certified Golf Course Superintendents). Which is basically just a test, plus you have to attend certain classes to keep up the credentials.  

As far as compensation goes it can be quite rewarding if you land in the right spot. (but it takes a ton of time, and luck to get there!)
CEO of GCSAA is about 400k
Superintendent at a Fazio top 100 course out west-220k
Super at a primer club in the Midwest 120k
National average for private clubs 103k
National average for a public club 70k
National average for an assistant 40k

Hope this helped!

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#27 mallrat

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 05:03 PM

View PostDseebera, on 13 July 2017 - 11:18 AM, said:

BNGL

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, this is fantastic resource.

We recently had our long-standing and very talented Super hired away by the PGA. We replaced him with his number two. I assume we did this for continuity reasons but I am curious about a few things regarding our search (or lack thereof) because I was not a party to the process: 1) how liquid is the market for Superintendents? when conducting a search is it mostly word of mouth or are there head-hunters for Supers? 2) other than apprenticing, what is the formal training (course of study) that one follows to earn the title? and 3)  [if not appropriate for public consumption please feel free to PM me] what is the comp range for Supers at private clubs?

thank you!

I may be able to help answer this from a different perspective. I work on the grounds crew in a different part of the country.

From my knowledge there is a website specifically for Supers and assistants. Here (in Oregon) Oregon State, which has a VERY highly (aside from golf they have produced the turf care managers for the last 3 World Cups along with producing over 60% of all the grass seed used in the world) regarded turf care management program, keeps a message board. Also around here the courses cherry pick other courses and will reach out. We just lost a Super to a course that is over 70 years old and he is the 4th Super in the clubs history. Especially because many of the courses around here are Poa courses which, I imagine, helps in knowing how to deal with it.

2) Oregon State offers various degrees in Turf Care Management which I believe is an off shoot of horticulture and the students choose their area of specialty, some do football fields others baseball or soccer but mostly golf. Our newest assistant super is doing his dissertation for his Masters in that field.

3) Word is the PNW is pretty low on the pay scale for Supers but the higher end private clubs get into the low 6 figures.

Sorry if I posted anything inappropriate BNGL, if so please let me know and I will gladly, edit or remove.

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#28 youraway2

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 05:05 PM

View PostBNGL, on 12 July 2017 - 05:08 PM, said:

View Postaceofclubs, on 12 July 2017 - 04:21 PM, said:

Cool idea for a thread.....

Can you explain why some courses have ridiculously slow greens, even ones that are in nice shape otherwise.

Is it a pace of play issue?
Cost?
Just easier to maintain?

I live in the northeast where it can get pretty hot and humid in the summer and courses are pretty tree lined.

For instance i played a course the other day, expensive by my standards ($70 prime rate) and it was a beautiful layout, long, great condition but the greens were soooo slow and spongy. They werent excessively sloped or anything. Im not a country club golfer so i dont typically play on fast greens and these were some of the slowest greens ive seen.  

Thanks

Good Evening aceofclubs thank you for your question!
First let me start by saying that there are several factors relation to green speed;
Height of cut, amount of water being applied, soil compaction, and the type of grass.

Faster greens are more difficult to maintain, cost more, and do present a pace of play issue (at least to me). There are several reasons as to why, that is.
Faster greens are typically mowed tighter (lower), I know that a certain PGA Tour event in Florida has mowers set for .090 tournament week. (certain conditions might dictate that you raise or lower them, but .090 is the target). That is less than a 1/10 of an inch, when your typical municipal course is probably mowing at around .125. These fractions may not sound like much, but that is HUGE on a microscopic level. When you mow that tight, the wilting point of the plant is effectively lowered to almost nothing. That is why if you watch an event after play has concluded for the day you will often see crews with hoses watering greens, and overheads running as well.

Lower cut greens can potentially cost a lot more, because you are extremely susceptible to diseases, drought, and insects. This needlessly increases the pesticide, fungicide, insecticide, and water budgets.

As for the pace of play, quite simply not every body can putt a 10'5"

As for my course specifically my target speed is 9'0". I feel that is a good balance of speed and playability, but I can always get them faster for certain events. But every green is different, each is its own microenvironment, some of my greens are elevated and drain extremely well...those are typically faster than others and won't get rolled as often as the some of my others that are in valleys where water collects. (We also will manage irrigation differently to each green).

As for your case, I suspect that with spongy one of two things. It had rained a lot recently, that will make the property look extremely lush! But if it rains enough it can affect mowing for several days after. What can happen is the greens get spongy enough that the mowers will scalp the greens, even though the regular mowing height hasn't changed. Another factor to sponginess is the course is prepping to aerify or vent greens, grass is a living organism and needs to "breathe". The sponginess you are feeling could be gas built up in the soil that will be released upon aerification. There could be other problems that I cannot speak to having not seen the greens, or the soil. (I have been on courses south of the Mason-Dixon Line all my career).

Quick funny (at least to me) story about fast greens, while volunteering at the PGA Tour event I rolled greens for the week. During the process you see the Tour guys coming around measuring green speeds, and Wednesday morning, after two nights of chilly temps (sub 40), he took a stimp reading on number 10. As soon as the ball came off of the stimp, Mr. Cooper said "Whoa...." this ball never stopped, it slowed down but it just kept trickling. He looks at us and says just single roll the back 9 today. If I remember correctly they were just barely 14'0" Tuesday night. I think the average for the week though was 13'5" just ridiculous and pure as well!

I hope this answer shed some light on your query, please feel free to ask me anything at anytime.
Isn't reoccurring light top dressing a good way to maintain a smooth surface, increase speed and reduce thatch and grain?  Primarily on Bermuda grass greens I might add.

Edited by youraway2, 13 July 2017 - 05:07 PM.


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#29 mallrat

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 05:10 PM

Random question, we are having trouble keeping water in our course right now. I guess the Super that left "tried" a new watering agent this year right before he left.

What is a watering agent and would you "try" something new knowing you are leaving a course?

Also, what is your favorite piece of equipment ?

Edited by mallrat, 13 July 2017 - 05:16 PM.


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#30 Dseebera

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Posted 13 July 2017 - 05:19 PM

View PostBNGL, on 13 July 2017 - 04:52 PM, said:

View PostDseebera, on 13 July 2017 - 11:18 AM, said:

BNGL

Thanks for sharing your knowledge, this is fantastic resource.

We recently had our long-standing and very talented Super hired away by the PGA. We replaced him with his number two. I assume we did this for continuity reasons but I am curious about a few things regarding our search (or lack thereof) because I was not a party to the process: 1) how liquid is the market for Superintendents? when conducting a search is it mostly word of mouth or are there head-hunters for Supers? 2) other than apprenticing, what is the formal training (course of study) that one follows to earn the title? and 3)  [if not appropriate for public consumption please feel free to PM me] what is the comp range for Supers at private clubs?

thank you!

Dseebera,

Interesting question...the market for a good super is not great, not bad but not great. The more competent that you are the more oppurnities you will have. I do not want to say that the job market is declining or growing, it is fairly stagnant if I remember correctly.

There maybe "head hunters" I don't know about that, but it is extremely frowned upon for one course to poach a super from a good situation. Now if his/hers contract is up or coming up than it is fair game. In my experience though it is the vendors and sales reps that are the ones truly in the know about jobs, especially in their respective sales areas. If you really think about it, these sales reps go from course to course, know the ownership groups, the conditions of the course and what is expected, but also the financials of the course (not all of the financials, but the reps know who pays the bills and who doesn't). Plus they also build a relationship with each and every super and assistant and may or may not endorse or mention names  if a club asks, "Do you know anyone looking for work"

As for your club hiring an assistant makes a ton of sense because he/she already knows what the level of expectations are and the club knows what they are getting.

Many Big10 (Penn State, Michigan State, Ohio State to name a few) schools have world renowned turf and horticulture programs, you can actually get a post grad degree in these fields. I got a certificate to start then an undergrad. I did my certificate online while working in orlando, then busted my butt working and studying. Right now I am in a good spot, my course is ok in my eyes. Members are happy owners are happy pga staff seems happy so keep going here until a bigger and better position opens up. In addition to the formal schooling the GCSAA has several different levels of certifications, from students all the way up to CGCS (Certified Golf Course Superintendents). Which is basically just a test, plus you have to attend certain classes to keep up the credentials.  

As far as compensation goes it can be quite rewarding if you land in the right spot. (but it takes a ton of time, and luck to get there!)
CEO of GCSAA is about 400k
Superintendent at a Fazio top 100 course out west-220k
Super at a primer club in the Midwest 120k
National average for private clubs 103k
National average for a public club 70k
National average for an assistant 40k

Hope this helped!

That is comprehensive! Thank you

“I grabbed a pile of dust, and holding it up, foolishly asked for as many birthdays as the grains of dust, I forgot to ask that they be years of youth. ”

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